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What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is about giving farmers and workers across the world better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade. It’s not just about tracing products back to their source – it’s about improving the lives and communities of the people who produce them and ensuring that they have the resources they need to continue.

The East of England Co-op has established the sale of fairly traded goods for more than 20 years and was one of the first major UK retailers to champion Fairtrade, before the Fairtrade mark was even introduced.

Why buy Fairtrade products?

A staggering 600 million people worldwide are affected by seasonal hunger. Fairtrade gives farmers an equal voice and ensures they are paid and treated fairly, whilst providing an opportunity to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. Purchasing Fairtrade products is an easy way to take action and literally changes lives.

When trade is fair it has the potential to improve the lives of the farmers and workers who grow our food. We believe Fairtrade is the gold standard because it:​

Pays producers fairly: Fairtrade ensures that workers and producers receive fair payment for their products, which helps to keep their businesses sustainable. According to a report released by the Fairtrade Foundation in 2019, the average West African cocoa farmer is paid less than 74p per day, which is far less than the £1.86 required for their income to be sustainable. Fairtrade Minimum Price, the minimum price that must be paid by buyers to producers for a product to become certified against the Fairtrade Standards, acts as a safety net for producers. Covering the average costs of sustainable production, Fairtrade Minimum Price provides security for producers and their families.

Gives producers a say in their future: Farmers and workers receive an additional payment that goes into a communal fund for them to use, as they decide, to invest in improving the quality of their lives. The payment is calculated based on the percentage of the goods that are sold. For example, cocoa farmers receive an additional $200 for each tonne of cocoa beans that are sold. This allows producers to have a say in their futures as they can choose where to invest in their communities. According to the Fairtrade Foundation, in 2018 more than £166 million was generated through sales and handed back to communities via Fairtrade Premium.

Does the right thing by both people and the planet: Fairtrade works to tackle the impacts of climate change on producers and the environment through adaptation, mitigation and reforestation projects. Fairtrade Standards set out guidance for producers that allows them to learn more about changes they can make to follow more environmentally friendly practices.

Strengthens communities around the world: Fairtrade is all about empowerment, as well as encouraging producers to have a stronger voice when it comes to investing in their communities it emphasises training and development to support female farmers. Fairtrade’s focus on gender equality inspires and enables women to set up businesses and become leaders in the Fairtrade certified cooperatives.

Resources to help research Fairtrade:

To help you research more about Fairtrade and the positive benefits that it has on communities and producers around the world, we've put together some links! 

Fairtrade Foundation

Fairtrade Communities

Fairtrade School Resources

Fairtrade Till Screen Competition

In anticipation of Fairtrade Fortnight we ran a Fairtrade "Design a Till Screen" competition from the 25th January to 12th February aimed at children between the ages of 5-16. 

We received some fantastic entries and with the expertise of our guest judge, Fairtrade Foundation CEO Mike Gideny, we were able to select a winner! The winner of our competition is Annaliese, 15 from Norfolk! You can view her fantastic artwork below. 

Look below to see some of the other entries we received for the competition!